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MIA soars in 2024 with record passenger growth and top bond rating

MIA experiences a stellar start to the year with a passenger surge and financial recognition

Miami International Airport (MIA) has kicked off 2024 in spectacular fashion, boasting record-breaking passenger numbers and achieving a coveted A+ bond rating. According to recently released statistics from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, MIA welcomed a staggering 14.9 million passengers in the first three months of this year.

This represents a significant 11.6% increase compared to the 13.3 million travelers that passed through the airport during the same period in 2023. Notably, international travel saw the most significant growth, jumping by 12% to 6.5 million passengers, while domestic travel also experienced healthy gains, rising 11.3% to 8.3 million passengers.

Financial strength recognized with upgraded bond rating

MIA's impressive performance extends beyond passenger numbers. The airport's robust financial standing has been recognized by Standard and Poor's (S&P), a leading credit rating agency. In a recent report, S&P upgraded their revenue bonds to A+, signifying a strong financial outlook. This upgrade follows a similar move by Fitch Ratings last year, which also awarded them an A+ rating.

The S&P report highlighted the airport's emergence as a major aviation hub outperforming its competitors. This has resulted in an exceptional market position, with analysts crediting their financial resilience and operational efficiency. Data from the Federal Aviation Administration indicates that MIA's recovery from the pandemic surpasses all other top 10 large hub airports in the United States. Additionally, the airport's enplanement activity is projected to remain well above the national average, exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 2026.

S&P analysts were particularly impressed with the Miami-Dade Aviation Department's (MDAD) management of the airport's capital improvement program. The report acknowledged MDAD's highly experienced and proactive leadership team, expressing confidence in their ability to manage the substantial capital plan and maintain MIA's strong financial position.

Two individuals posing in front of a vibrant wall.

Major MIA improvement programs underway

This program encompasses a $1.7 billion investment in maintenance upgrades. This includes the replacement or refurbishment of all 616 elevators, escalators, and moving walkways requiring modernization. These upgrades will ensure a smooth and efficient passenger experience at MIA.

Moreover, they are spearheading an unprecedented $7 billion Future-Ready Capital Improvement Program. This ambitious program focuses on long-term infrastructure development to enhance the airport's capacity, technological advancements, and overall efficiency. These improvements will position MIA to remain a global leader in the aviation industry.

The airport's positive news extends to the cargo sector as well. The airport commenced World Trade Month on a high note, recording a 5% increase in freight volume during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year. A total of 715,780 tons of freight passed through in the first three months, exceeding the 681,734 tons handled in 2023.

International freight witnessed a significant 7.6% growth to 599,627 tons, while domestic freight experienced a slight decline of 6.7% to 116,153 tons. Notably, they achieved a record-breaking 2.78 million tons of cargo in 2023, solidifying its position as the third busiest cargo airport in the U.S. and the sixth busiest globally.

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